Edited by David Martin Jones, Ann Lane and Paul Schulte
Chapter 9: Small-world Networks, Violence and Global Distress
9. Small-world networks, violence and global distress Francesc Badia Global capitalism brought about global terrorism. Parallel to the development of the global network society, fostered by the new information and communication technologies that emerged in the 1980s, a new type of extreme terrorism appeared in the post-Cold War international arena. Its causes are numerous, from the democratization of technologies to the redefinition of the role of the states and their crisis of sovereignty, and the proliferation of non-state actors. The double character of this globalization period can be described as being split between the ‘vertebrate’ feature of the nation-state world system and a new nature of non-state world capitalism that can be defined as ‘cellular’, following the interesting concept elaborated by the American anthropologist, Arjun Appadurai. He has described the new terrorist networks as: ‘connected yet not vertically managed, coordinated yet remarkably independent, capable of replication without central messaging structures, hazy in their central organizational features yet crystal clear in their cellular strategies and effects’. These organizations, he writes: ‘clearly rely on the crucial tools of money transfer, hidden organization, offshore havens, and non-official means of training and mobilization, which also characterize the workings of many levels of the capitalist world’.1 This new way of organizing the activities around the world has been very profitable for a privileged minority of global corporations and individuals, while bringing unprecedented prosperity to a large number of people, be it in Southeast Asia, China or Latin America. Yet it also has a dark side...
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